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date: 17 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article starts by exploring a selection of analyses about invention in ancient sources. It also addresses the nature of some ancient inventors, and presents examples of Greek and Roman technology that reveal stability or change. Attitudes to invention and innovation in Greek and Roman writings are specifically considered. Individuals such as Ctesibius, Philon, and Archimedes, whose names became associated with specific inventions, were at the very least responsible for memorable innovations, whether or not the devices that they brought into practical use were their own inventions. The achievements of Vitruvius and Heron of Alexandria are then evaluated. The most interesting questions about Greek and Roman invention and innovation are not about priority or originality, but about the contexts in which such processes took place.

Keywords: Ctesibius, Philon, Archimedes, Vitruvius, Heron of Alexandria, Greek invention, Roman invention, innovation, technology

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